t he lady in p ink .

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Pools of blue were fixed on the beautiful flower garden in the center, where the only beam of light shone. The watered down sunrays made the garden glow in this dark, sacred place. He looked to his left and right, only seeing the empty disheveled pews, covered with dust and splintering with age. Reaching the last part of the hardwood floor, he stopped where the flowers came up to the edge. A small hand came in contact with a pale blossom, as wide, sparkling oceanic eyes inspected it closely. The long white petals curved delicately up from the stem and around its mouth, which contained just a hint of lemon-yellow deep inside.

"Do you like them?"

"H-huh?" the little boy blurted out, voice cracking as he searched for the one who had spoken. The tone seemed impeccably whimsical and delicate, almost like windchimes, at least that was what his innocent, childish mind thought.

His bright eyes finally came in contact with an equally bright emerald gaze, only these same eyes were bordered with lovely, long dark lashes. A young woman stood before him, a gentle smile set upon her strawberry-ripe lips. She donned a dainty, pink dress, and he could make out a large red ribbon that kept her honey-brown tresses in a tight, spiraling braid in place. She wore thick brown garden boots, which peeked out from beneath the flare of her skirt, as she took several steps towards him.

"The flowers — do you like them?" she questioned again, voice still as soft as it had been earlier.

"They're really pretty."

"Thank you," she said, smile widening in obvious pleasure. A rosy tinge rose to his bronzed cheeks as he looked up at the beautiful woman, who came to crouch noiselessly beside him. The sunlight touched amber glints in her dark hair as she suddenly dipped her head, fragrant lily fingertips caressing the petals of a sunlit bloom. It was a light yellow in color, with curved leaves and a long emerald stem; she continued, "Not many like to come by to see them anymore, unfortunately."

"I think if everybody knew such a nice lady lived here they would." The little brunet's mouth then curved into a dazzling smile – revealing baby teeth yet to fall out. "What's your name? Mine's Sora."

She clasped her slender hands together and laid them gently on her lap. "You can call me the lady in pink."

"Okay," Sora agreed happily. His azure irises shone with excitement as they moved to the delicate plant she had previously been touching. "What's that?"

"Oh, this? It's called a lily — it means purity." Bending over slightly, her hands once more brushed against the small flower in question, and gently plucked it; then, her delicately-sculpted arm held it out in front of her, before tucking it behind the shell of his creamy ear. The silken pearl petals were a stark contrast to his spiky chocolate locks. "It suits you," she added cheerfully.

Sora gasped, reaching up to touch the sprig for a prolonged while. "You mean I can have it?" he asked poignantly. When the young woman giggled lightly and nodded in response, a large, goofy grin took residence on his boyishly handsome features. "Thank you!"

"Your welcome."

"So, did you plant all of these?" Sora inquired, indicating the white and yellow froth of flowers behind her. There were so many of them.

"No, I didn't actually; they've always been here. I just take care of them."

"All by yourself?"

Smiling faintly, chocolate eyelashes fluttered gently like butterfly wings as emerald orbs closed in placid repose; "Yes, all by myself."

An idea suddenly popped into his head — brilliant only to himself. "Maybe I could help!" Sora blurted out, all awkward and excited. The young boy's face immediately tinted a glowing red hue, and he averted his line of sight to his white shirt, red shorts, and sunny sandals. "That is, if it is okay with you . . ."

Suddenly, he felt his face being gently cupped by soft, delicate hands. What filled his senses was a swirl of sugary-sweetness as sapphire clicked with polished jade. "I would like that, Sora," she told him comfortingly. "In fact, you could start today if you wanted. Would you like to help me water the flowers?" she asked in that honeyed tone of hers. Sora nodded, looking appeased, and she smiled.

With that, the lady in pink told him to fetch the tin watering pail — and when he came close enough she pulled him into her lap; guiding his small and clumsy hands to make sure he didn't drown the dainty plants as he poured. The sparkling droplets looked like vertical diamonds as they cascaded onto the petals and earthy soil below. She complimented him on a job well done, and he twisted around awkwardly to look up at her. The little boy scrunched up his nose lightly in thought.

Her malachite eyes lit up with amusement. "Yes?"

". . . I don't understand why my daddy doesn't want me to come here."

"Oh," she breathed softly, a little startled. Her expression softened. "I'm sure he has his reasons."

"You don't know my daddy."

Sora pouted a little. The young woman laughed softly. "I know that he loves you," she assured him.

"I know," he said, grudgingly. He turned around to fully face her. "But one time, he got really mad when I asked if I could come here. I just wanted to see inside!"

She smiled kindly, and a loose strand of her mahogany bangs fell into her face. She tucked them back carefully. "Sometimes, parents have a funny way of showing their love. Of course, he just wants the best for you . . ." The woman trailed off, gazing into the distance, that faint smile still on her perfect mouth. "It's his way of showing he cares."

Sora shifted slightly in her lap. "But I like it here. I like the flowers. I like you."

"I like you too," she remarked quietly, reaching out to affectionately stroke his cinnamon-colored spikes. Enjoying the attention, Sora nestled his head closer against her chest. She fixated her stare upon the boy snuggled against her body; it was a tender moment, beautiful and warm like the golden afternoon. Amid the lingering heat of glittering sunshine that embraced them, the fronds of the lush white and yellow lilies flashing their pale green undersides in an upcoming breeze, everything felt calmed by the luminous garden's repose. Alas, it would soon be but a fleeting glance, already gone — but that didn't make it any less brilliant.

She then leaned down, and started to whisper words into the little boy's ear, words teeming with light and meaning. Moments later, her message received, and Sora pulled away, oceanic-blue eyes laced with understanding.

Footsteps echoed in the hollow, broken wooden building.

"Sora!"

A masculine voice tinged with panic boomed.

"Daddy!" Sora called back, and in a second his round face was buried into his father's chest, strong arms immediately wrapping around his arms and torso into a sloppy embrace.

"Sora." The father's gruff baritone was coarser than usual, and he sounded hoarse as his voice scraped against his vocal chords. Blue-iceberg irises stained with a mottled mixture of unease and agony dived into his, a heaviness clear in their livid depths. Gloved hands were outstretched, digging into thin shoulders. "What did I tell you about coming here?"

"But she wanted me to come here."

Genuine confusion cracked the man's previous tick of anxiety. "Who . . . ?"

"The lady in pink," Sora replied, and a gentle wind sent vibrant shades of ivory and golds dancing to soothing winds in the center of the church.

The shock of the little boy's admission reeled through the father's mind like a piercing torpedo. He immediately tensed up, appearing to be a merely carved stone of his former self, as skin paled into a sheen of ice-white. Turning over the words Sora had told him in his mind over and over like a broken record player; he tried to discern the meaning of them, and kept being bombarded — by flashes of enchanting green orbs and a lovely rose-painted smile — which struck him, leaving him breathless. He blinked several times, as though it would purge the haunting images from his memories. It felt like a piercing barb against his heart. No. She died. She's gone. Gonegonegone . . .

"She said to tell you hi," Sora continued, brightening a little. He was a miniature version of his father truly, bearing the traits of similar unruly locks and sea blue eyes. The only contrast was the color of said locks — while the father's were a shade of burnished gold, his were a dark chestnut brown. That and his trademark sunny smile set them miles apart. "And to not be so shy. This is your place as much as hers."

Moments passed, countless moments . . . the man licked his chapped lips, jagged gold being caressed by a spring breeze as he scanned the flower garden. Nothing met his gaze but the gently glimmering lilies, which bloomed like drifts of foam and fire against the earth. It looked so peaceful, a different world than from the ravaged and dark ruins of the castle just beyond the church's walls.

"Did . . ." the father started suddenly, voice loud but cracking all at the same time. He seemed to visibly struggle — trying not to let unwanted tears crawl into his eyes or a sob in his throat — he tried again. "Did she say anything else?"

Sora nodded once, and then again with more vigor.

"She said that there was never anything to forgive . . . and that everything's all right now."

At first he was mystified, and he felt something trickle through his blood. A bit of warmth, maybe, so foreign and painful and beautiful to the previously cold heart resting in his chest; then his eyes twinkled and he smiled despite himself.

dedicated to alyssa/the great naxa.

We all know Sora is Cloud&Aerith's love child. ;3.
Wow, I still can't believe it! I'm officially done with this fic. Not only
that, but with the couple, and fandom in general. It's been fun while
it lasted guys . . . mostly. Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed!
Oh, and I still don't own anything.

E› always, secret .